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Vega – Grit Your Teeth Award winner

Grit Your Teeth
by Rachel Montgomery at 14 August 2020, 7:39 PM

VEGA is a UK metal band that signed in 2009 with their debut album “Kiss Of Life”. Releasing their sixth studio album, “Grit Your Teeth,” they’re continuing their traditional metal sound that fans know and love them for. They toured the UK and Europe through their career, and these songs are geared towards that. If you’re missing concerts, this is a great album to throw on and feel like you’re there. However, it has a crisp studio sound and clean musicianship that shows great talent. While the album is very 80s, it doesn’t feel like a knockoff.

The opening track, “Blind,” has a great hook: simple riff, steady drumbeat, and a catchy tune that you’ll be humming through the album. It’s not terribly complicated. Neither experimental progressive elements nor overt symphonic ambiance are here, just straight up, traditional metal. It lets the listener know what to expect. While the sound is very 80s, they add a contemporary grit to the songs that sets them apart. Songs like “(I Don’t Need) Perfection” showcase the vocalists’ singing abilities really well. His voice becomes smooth and clear, showing off good technique. The band also has solid riffs. “Grit Your Teeth” has an ear-catching riff at the beginning that hooks listeners into the song. The riff is intricate and shows good guitar technique.

The opening riffs really hook you in. I love the blues riff in “Man On A Mission” and the blues-style distorted vocal opening. The song has a traditional feel but takes it in an edgier direction. “Don’t Fool Yourself” has an uplifting opening with bell ambiance that continues through the song. While the rest of the song may carry on with a simple format, the openings are great at hooking the listener. The songs are continuously mid-tempo without a lot of variation. The different tones of the songs help set them apart from each other. “Consequences Of Having A Heart” and “This One’s For You” open like a slow songs, but they’re mid-tempo and more intense. The vocal melody in the former song is powerful and uplifting, drawing you in beautifully. The latter is more of a fist-pumping ballad that would be great to sing along to at a concert.

There are some tracks that cross into symphonic metal territory. “Save Me From Myself” has some subtle orchestral elements in it, including a choir in the intro. The chorus of the song soars like an operatic metal song. The guitar solo also takes notes from symphonic metal. While it’s short, it’s really intricate. Both “Battles Ain’t A War” and “How We Live” are the more traditional 80s tracks on the album. They showcase two sides of the genre, the angsty, edgier side with the former, and the more melodic side with the latter. The album closes with a two-minute song called “Done With Me” that’s more pop-punk than the last few songs.

Overall, what distinguishes Vega from other traditional bands is subtle. They don’t sound exactly like JUDAS PRIEST or IRON MAIDEN. They also take more musical cues from KISS and GEORGE THOROGOOD, opting for a commercial sound, but very infused with blues. They have melodic elements in there, too, which they use in their more upbeat songs for intensity. Interestingly, they ended with a pop-punk sound. If you like 1980s sounding metal but are looking for something more interesting than the next MAIDEN knockoff, check these guys out. They’re solid, have musical talent, and stand out.

Songwriting: 8
Production: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Blind
2. (I Don’t Need) Perfection
3. Grit Your Teeth
4. Man On A Mission
5. Don’t Fool Yourself
6. Consequences Of Having A Heart
7. This One’s For You
8. Battles Ain’t A War
9. Save Me From Myself
10. How We Live
11. Done With Me
Nick Workman – Vocals
Marcus Thurston – Guitars
Michael Kew - Guitars
Tom Martin – Bass
James Martin – Keyboards
Martin Hutchinson – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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